wordly images

a way out or a way in?

Posted in Uncategorized by hellyj on May 27, 2010

Image: Jones-2010-NYC

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postcards – from the edges of another place and time(?)

Posted in Helen Jones - Wordly Images by hellyj on May 25, 2010

Chichen Itza, MexicoImage: Jones-2009, Chichen Itza, Mexico

I was reading an interesting article recently by a travel writer (Guy Trebay) who still sends postcards from wherever he travels to. I say ‘still’ because it does seem as if the action of putting pen to paper (or card) and writing ‘wish you were here’ is a thing of the past for the majority of us. What with the advent of the electronic postcards – i.e. Twitter, Facebook, iPhones – snail mail seems far too….well, slow. Not only from sticking the postcard in the box and then its journey from the senders location to the recipients location (and depending where you are in the world, you could get back before your postcard even arrives!), but also the physical effort that one has to put in to find the appropriate card and then wrack your brains to find a witty way to compress your travel stories, onto a tiny 3 1/2 x 5″area;  aside from the cliched ‘wish you were here’ or ‘wish you weren’t here’. And, don’t forget you have to buy the stamp and stick it on too!

On the whole we seem happy to have shrunk our worlds into the electronic medium of (often round-robin because it saves time) communication and, hey, I am more than guilty of taking the easy option of late. There was a time that I wouldn’t even think twice about sending a postcard whilst on my travels – if only to my dad to stick on his fridge. However, it seems such a shame that we don’t take the time to hunt out interesting, quirky, or cliched postcards;  especially looking for just the right card for i.e. your best mate, the one that only they would get the joke or the nuance of that particular card.

As Mr Trebay so succinctly put it ‘Historians of Facebook and Twitter will be left to scrounge around the internet for the fugitive relics of the present communication age’. Not for them the scene upon scene of diverse wonders of far off places – the sun set over the costa del sol, camels posing in front of the pyramids, African drummers on a beach or, god forbid, those ‘naughty’ 70’s cartoon postcards, depicting two old men sitting on their striped deck chairs, eyes popping out of their heads as two young, comically-endowed busty, blonds (as they seemed to have more fun – allegedly!) walk past in itsy-bitsy bikini’s; with some lewd comment written underneath a la: “eeeh, Stan, you don’t get many of those to the pound these days!”

Lets not deprive ourselves of this ancient(ish) ritual (apparently, the first souvenir postcard was printed in 1893 in the US) , nor the pleasure of our friends or family picking up their post, shuffling through the usual generic brown or white-enveloped bills, boring circulars etc, only to come across a flash of colour in the midst of it all and with a personalised note, just for them, written in ink on the back to-boot.

How refreshingly old-fashioned, I say.

HJ – May 25th 2010, NYC

reverie – synonyms: absorption, abstraction, castle-building, castles in the air

Posted in Helen Jones - Wordly Images by hellyj on May 4, 2010

2 Sunset, Slaotsburg, NY2 Sunset, Sloatsburg, NY – Image: Jones-2o10

Just back into the city after a blissful few days up country, dog-sitting for friends in their wonderful house by a lake – the lake being at the bottom of their garden!

What a contrast, being back in the noise-polluted streets of the city to the tranquility of the countryside…..surrounded by woods, wildlife, star-filled night skies, the full moon reflecting off the lake, and…….quiet stillness at night, until the dawn chorus sets off and the woods and lake come alive once again.

Back to the city and the constant drone of the huge air-conditioning units around the apartment block, the cacophony of the 24/7 traffic, horns blaring down 6th Avenue. I lie there at night waiting for the blissful few minutes when the air conditioning re-booting, wishing that I could fall asleep in those brief moments and escape the constant electronically-induced hum. The white noise of the city.

So, it begs the question: why do we choose to place ourselves in situations where there seems to be no respite from the perpetual drone of city life? Is it to distract ourselves from standing still and really looking at ourselves? Do we think that we are missing out if we are not in the hub of it all  – whatever ‘it’ is?

Would living in the country eventually present its own version of that perpetual drone? Quite possibly…..but then I’d rather take a chance, even in these uncertain financial times, and build my castle in the sky, surrounded by the constant hum of nature, over the oppressive concrete canyons of a city any day! Or, better still, a tree-house in the bush, by the balong, in West Africa but thats another story…..

But then……..I always have been a country girl at heart so why fight it.

HJ (May 2010)

PS and the best part is, is that we get to go back to the country in a couple of days and savour its delights for another week or so! Better get my architect’s head on!